Spatial variability of soil microbial biomass and its relationships with edaphic, vegetational and climatic factors in the Three-River Headwaters region on Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

Ruichang Shen, Ming Xu, Renqiang Li, Fengxia Zhao, Qingkai Sheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study aims to investigate the level of soil microbial biomass (MB) and analyze the relationships between soil MB and edaphic, vegetational and climatic factors at high elevation sites (>3000. m). We collected soil samples from 0 to 10. cm soil depth in 259 plots at 55 sites across 6 biomes in Three-River Headwaters (TRH) region at 3280-5127. m elevation. Soil microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen (MBC and MBN) were measured with the chloroform fumigation-extraction method. Multivariate stepwise regression analyses were used to analyze the combined effects of edaphic, vegetational and climatic factors on soil MB. We found: (1) soil MBC and MBN had an average of 30.95. mmol C/kg dry soil and 5.84. mmol N/kg dry soil in TRH, respectively, and their values were found to be negatively correlated with elevation; (2) soil MB was found to be significantly different among different biomes, and this spatial variation could be explained by the levels of soil organic carbon and belowground plant biomass. Our results indicate that the MB at high elevation region might be very low, and the increasing trend of soil microbial biomass with elevation could reverse at higher elevations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-203
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Soil Ecology
Volume95
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Soil Science

Keywords

  • Alpine ecosystem
  • Biogeochemical cycle
  • Carbon
  • Global warming
  • Nitrogen
  • Stoichiometry

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